When your kitchen counter becomes your best friend...


In my twenties, I used to nonchalantly come into company class 5 minutes before we started. It's like at a party, the one who lives the closest always shows up last.. Needless to say, I barely warmed up. And honestly, apart from stretching, I had no warm-up routine. I guess I was never really told what was best for my body either. Now 10 years later, I come in half an hour before class and try to stick to a series of exercises I want to accomplish before I hear the solemn "Good morning, let's start with pliés...".

Where am I going with this? Well, routine or no routine, us dancers tend to get stuck in doing (or not doing) the same things pre-class for quite a while which translate into your technique class. So how do you stay motivated? And above it all, while in a pandemic..? Here's what helped me.


After the first few depressing March days, this first confinement (I can't bare this word anymore) oddly pushed me to rethink it all. I tried to be as honest with myself as I could on what I lacked in strength, flexibility and stability and designed a little program for myself. (I'll try to write a post on that specific subject later). That's when social media is amazing. You can access an enormous catalog of videos for anything you need.

My plan of action became clearer. I wrote down a series of postural and strengthening exercises, and after a few days of no motivation to do anything, they somehow reignited my flame to actually follow up with a class.

The problem was... where? After moving back to France 2 years ago having spent 15 years in the US, my big kitty and I had to adjust to, first a 260 sqft then a 360 sqft apartment without an open floorplan. I hear a virtual gasp from my fellow North Carolinian... 360sqft??? Haha. Yes, I kid you not. So, the kitchen it was.. The counter was the best height and stable compared to the option of a wobbly chair. As the company didn't have zoom classes set up, I "took" class from them all! Tiler Peck (I know you did too), Isabella Boylston, Madame Olga, Maestra Raffaela Renzi, Norwegian Ballet, etc and myself. Sweating felt good again. After a kitchen counter barre, I would move to a living room center by pushing out the couch, rug, table and chairs. I had gotten a piece of a weird linoleum I scotch taped to the floor for pointe work. I kicked lamps, table corners and walls many times but I didn't give up. I forced myself to do little videos of balances which I made harder at the days went on. You know, to keep it entertaining for myself. Not having a mirror for a while helped too I have to say..




As I went back to the kitchen counter "almost" every day, cause let's be real here, there were days I just didn't want to do anything, somehow other creative things came along. A couple photographers and I collaborated on shoot ideas, the harpist of the Opera de Nice and I played and danced on Satie's 3rd Gnossienne as well as other little things..



I also started teaching classes with @ballettogether which allowed me to connect with dancers around the world of all ages. A wonderful platform started from an great lady out of Seattle who wanted her daughter to keep having access to ballet classes... I truly was in awe seeing my students managing to progress over the weeks in their tiny spaces. That gave me purpose too and made me realize the magnitude of the situation we were/are all in.


Being completely alone away from my family, my boyfriend, my friends was extremely hard as our French confinement was pretty strict but thank god for the arts. In all forms. Our second confinement however is much different as we now can work normally. Game changer (well not anymore... back into full confinement).


So if you're still in it, have been in it or will be, don't be hard on yourself. Take it as it comes and try to use this time to focus on things you said you would but never had time for. Treat it like a reset button. Cause you know what? I somehow came back stronger and never even had a sore muscle after my first real live class! So stay proud and grab your portable barres, counters, chairs, or book shelves! Just beware of the lamps ;)


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